The AIF Project

Lionel George TOWNSEND

Regimental number295
Place of birthLatrobe, Tasmania
AddressRidgley, Tasmania
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinFather, G Townsend, Ridgley, Tasmania
Previous military serviceServed in the Tasmanian Rangers (for a 'short period').
Enlistment date19 August 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Hobart, Tasmania, on board HMAT A2 Geelong on 20 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 2 March 1915. Promoted Corporal, 26 May 1915. Admitted to 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, 29 September 1915 (diarrhoea); discharged to unit, 1 October 1915. Admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 13 October 1915 (dysentery); embarked on HS 'Valdivia' for Alexandria, 18 October 1915, and admitted to No. 3 Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 21 October 1915 (debility). transferred to A & NZ Convalescent Depot, Helouan, 18 November 1915 (rheumatism and dysentery); discharged, 10 December 1915; rejoined unit, Tel el Kebir, 7 January 1916.

Admitted to 2nd Field Ambulance, Tel el Kebir, 15 January 1916 (abcess, left groin); transferred to No. 4 Auxiliary Hospital, 17 January 1916 (thought to be measles; diagnosed as syphilis); to 3rd Australian General Hospital, 19 February 1916; to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Abbassia, 12 March 1916; discharged from No. 1 Auxiliary Hospital to Base Details, Heliopolis, 8 July 1916; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 63 days.

Embarked from Alexandria for England, 29 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France from England, 5 September 1916; rejoined 12th Bn in the field, 22 September 1916.

Admitted to 1st Australian Field Ambulance, 7 February 1917 (acute rheumatism); transferred to 5th General Hospital, Rouen, 13 February 1917; transferred to England, 27 February 1917, and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 28 February 1917. Discharged on furlough, 10 April 1917, to report to No. 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 24 April 1917. Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Bulford, 3 May 1917; discharged, 22 June 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 51 days. Proceeded overseas to France, 16 July 1917; rejoined unit, 29 July 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 19-20 September 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format